Welcome to our weekly column, "Is This an Ad?", in which we aim to figure out what the heck is going on in the confusing world of celebrity social media endorsements. Because sometimes when celebrities are being paid to post about something it's very obvious, and sometimes it's not.
The Case: Juicero and Amber Rose
Last spring, when the New York Times wrote about Juicero, a $700 Keurig-for-juice-style startup, a lot people scoffed at the machine and company as a totem of Silicon Valley excess and a tech bubble ready to burst.
But Amber Rose — talk show host, Kardashian frenemy, Slut Walk organizer, model, and designer — just saw a convenient way to get delicious, healthy fresh juice...or did she?
On Snapchat, Rose posted videos of her friends (possibly paid assistants or her stylists/makeup artists; I admit my knowledge of the greater Amber Rose entourage is lacking) trying the juice. Unfortunately, I do not have saved evidence of the Juicero on her Snapchat story, due to the nature of Snapchat, you know, disappearing. You'll just have to take my word for it that this did indeed happen.
On Twitter, she posted about how she was going to buy one:
Rose is no stranger to a paid endorsement on social media. In the last few months, she's hit the Holy Trifecta of Instagram ads with a diet tea, a waist trainer, and teeth whitener.
So what do we think about the Juicero? On one hand, she does say right in that tweet that she's buying it herself, based on a friend's recommendation. "A recommendation from a trusted friend" is probably the best way someone is going to end up buying a $700 juicer, right? (Assuming the musician A-Trak and Amber Rose are friends. But really, when you're a celeb, what is a "friend" anyway?)
On the other hand, is Amber Rose really just chatting about juice with her pals and then tweeting about it...for free? Come on. Muva doesn't do anything for free, right?
A final theory (brought up by one of the people in her replies to the tweet): She's tweeting about a juicer the day after Kanye West's video for "Famous" debuted on Tidal – the video that featured a wax figure of her nude. Perhaps she's just trying to change the subject.
Not an ad!
We reached out to the nice people at Juicero to ask them what the deal was. They told us that, indeed, Amber decided to buy one herself based on DJ A-Trak's recommendation. She was not paid to talk about the machine nor did she get it for free.
She just genuinely loves really, really expensive juicers.
Katie Notopoulos is a senior editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Notopoulos writes about tech and internet culture is cohost of the Internet Explorer podcast.
Contact Katie Notopoulos at email@example.com.
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